|Title:||Microbial Communities and Interactions and Their Impact on Food Safety|
|Objective:||Microbes rarely exist in the environment as a monoculture but in complex microbial communities. Microorganisms in these communities often engage in a wide range of multicellular and intercellular behaviors such as cell-to-cell communication (quorum sensing), nutrient acquisition, biofilm formation, cellular dispersal, and the exchange of genetic material including genes encoding antimicrobial resistance. These processes have been studied extensively in axenic cultures for a few bacterial species and an understanding of these processes is being developed. However, the extent to which these interactions occur between foodborne pathogens and non-pathogenic flora associated with food and food processing environments is not well understood. |
This research project is aimed at gaining a better understanding of complex social behaviors of foodborne pathogenic bacteria by 1) studying the mechanism of biofilm formation and the role of quorum sensing in this process for selected foodborne pathogens, 2) studying the potential for mixed biofilm formation between pathogens and non-pathogenic environmental flora, 3) examining the prevalence and persistence of antimicrobial resistance plasmids in natural environments and investigate the transmission and persistence of these plasmids in model biofilms, and 4) developing and applying methods to qualitatively and quantitatively determine the members of microbial communities in foods and/or food processing environments.
|More Info:||The research will increase our knowledge of bacterial communities and our understanding of mechanisms of bacterial biofilm formation and quorum sensing. The results will help to identify specific critical step(s)/targets/strategies for controlling persistence of pathogens and reducing microbial loads and viability in foods and food processing environments.|
|Funding Source:||United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS)|
|Institutions:||USDA/ARS - North Atlantic Area|
|Published USDA ARS Articles|
Phage insertion in mlrA and variations in rpoS limit curli expression and biofilm formation in Escherichia coli serotype O157:H7
Uhlich GA, Chen C, Cottrell BJ, Hofmann CS, Dudley E, Strobaugh Jr TP, Nguyen LT.
Microbiology. 2013 Aug;159(8):1586-96.
|Food Safety Categories:||Government Policy and Regulations|
|Farm-to-Table categories:||Food processing|
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